THE CITY. After native Americans, the Spanish with their missionaries, presidios and adobes and the newly independent Mexicans, modern California was put on the map by the 49ers. The 49ers sought gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains which many of them arrived at via the boomtown port city of San Francisco. At the time and for several years to come, San Francisco was "The City." While San Francisco was eclipsed in size by Los Angeles several decades later, "The City" has remained a sobriquet for the cultural capital of Northern California and the people living in the San Francisco Bay area to this day. This simple design takes the shape of San Francisco's borders, color's that shape with the orange borrowed from the City's favorite baseball team, and adds the sobriquet spelled out in the languages of several of San Francisco's inhabitants: Jewish, Italian, Vietnamese, Hispanic, Thai, Russian, Korean, Armenian, Arabic, French, Japanese, Filipino, German and, of course, English. San Francisco was known to the early Chinese immigrants as Gold Mountain, and so the Chinese characters represent this name rather than "The City."
THE COMMITTEE OF VIGILANCE, BARBARY COAST. In the immediate aftermath of the Gold Rush, San Francisco was the lawless Barbary Coast. Before the civic institutions were developed to match pace with the burgeoning city, the wealthy organized a rapid response to the lawlessness with summary justice. This shirt asks what if time enveloped and members of the Vigilance Committee wore a t-shirt to represent their temporary "institution". The t-shirt includes their symbol of a watchful eye, the latin phrase they used: fiat justitia ruat coelum (Let justice be done though the heavens fall), and implements of mob rule: a club, brass knuckles, a period hand gun, and hangman's noose.
OLIGARCHY. The Trump Presidency combined with a Rebublican Congress represents a dangerous turn towards patronage of the top 1% owners of America, a virtual oligarchy of power. Consolidation of the media leaves us with poor information upon which democracy relies and rigged courts beginning with the refusal of the Republican senate to consider President Obama's candidate for the Supreme Court foretold damaged our other ensurer of democracy. Finally the tax cut which gave the 1% increasing wealth combined with their continued acretion of wealth since the Great Recession puts the US on a path of a new form of oligarchy. The image on this t-shirt portrays Trump recalling the absurdity of the comic-book character, Jugghead Jone, but instead of the hat, he has the capitol done, representing the Republican Congress.
Cambodia. This design draws from the look of early stamps. A colored-top layer with gold foil backing is coming off of the aged-paper underneath. The central image is the face of a court dancer, representing an apsara of Hindu and Buddhist lore, from early 20th century Phnom Penh, and is flanked by relief images of an apsara from Angkor ruins in Siem Reap at the other end of the famed Tonle Sap. Above the central image is Angkor Wat itself. The faces at the bottom right and left are from one of the other famed ruins of Angkor, Bayon. The language of the design is French, colonial French (Republic Française) of the early 20th century to be exact, when Cambodia (Cambodge) was a protectorate of the French and part of the latter's greater project of Indochina (Indo-Chine).
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Based on a World War II-era Japanese propaganda booklet aimed at Asian children, the front image combines the Japanese rising sun with an image of children from different countries standing together in support of the Japanese Imperial project, The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The back image is a more direct narrative showing Great Britain's Winston Churchill and the United States' Franklin D. Roosevelt looking vexed as their colonies and areas of control in Asia are being "liberated" by the Japanese. Meanwhile, local populations are depicted cheering on the Japanese. Note that Japan and its possessions in Manchuria, Korea and Taiwan are colored in red and the oil derrick and silos on the island of Borneo with the Japanese flag flying from them.
Netherlands East Indies. The East Indies referred broadly to what is today South and Southeast Asia. (front) The Netherlands East Indies (Nederlands Oostindien in Dutch) or Dutch East Indies was the name the Dutch gave to their colonial possessions of what is now Indonesia (and, at times, posts in India and Japan). Batavia (what was formerly known as Jayakarta and is now Jakarta) was the capital of these possessions and was founded as such in 1619 (Batavia werd opergericht in 1619). (back) This collage includes two Javanese keris, one on the top and the other on the bottom, which traditionally serve as a spiritual talisman as well a weapon for Javanese and several other ethnic groups in the archipelago. A wayang performer stands in a classical dance pose above a map of Central Java, the heart of Javanese culture. Clockwise from upper right is a picture of a priyayi, or Javanese nobleman and his servant, a Balinese dancer, three Balinese women as they dressed prior to independence, a wayang kulit (shadow puppet), a picture of Dutch and native conscripts with a cannon, Javanese boys reading a newspaper, young Javanese noblemen, and an picture of an attack on the Acehnese by Dutch-led forces under future Governor General, Johannes Benedictus van Heutsz. The ship and soldier in the upper left are images of the Dutch and their typical ships about the time of the conquest of Java from the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries. The map was printed in the mid-nineteenth century. All photos are from the early twentieth century.